NEW- Ironman Build-Peak-Race Periods 18-20 hrs/wk Power

Average Weekly Training Hours 15:43
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 15:43
Training Load By Week

This 12-week Ironman Build-Peak-Race period training plan was designed by Joe Friel using the principles described in his books--The Triathlete's Training Bible and Going Long (co-author Gordo Byrn). It works well for both over-50 and under-50 athletes. It should be started exactly 12 weeks before your Ironman race week (race week is the 12th week of the plan). Following this plan will prepare you for your Ironman by including all of the elements used by Joe in training advanced IM athletes. An advanced athlete is someone who has been in the sport for 3 or more years and has completed at least two Ironman races. To use this plan you should have recently completed a base period with at least 20-hour weeks. This plan is very challenging. Don't purchase it unless confident that you can train 20 hours in a week (about 900-1100 TSS per week).

To start this plan you should have completed 2 or more Iron-distance races and have a goal of improving your personal best race time or finishing on the podium.

You will need a power meter for bike workouts. Run workout intensities are mostly heart rate-based with occasional options calling for goal IM pace or perceived exertion. Swim workout intensities are based on T-times (pace per 100) or perceived exertion. Your training zones should be established before starting this plan. (For detailed description of how to set your zones for heart rate, power or pace go to

The plan was created using the TrainingPeaks "Workout Builder" format. That means the workouts may be uploaded to a device (power meter, heart rate monitor, indoor trainer, etc) or third-party app to help you follow it precisely. The format also makes it easier to visualize what the workout will be like. For more information on compatible devices and apps and how to export the workouts from this plan to them go to (It's not necessary to upload the workouts in order to use this plan.)

Besides training hours this plan also forecasts what your Training Stress Score (TSS) will be for each workout. Of course, it's likely that your workout TSS will be somewhat different when you finish the ride. Besides workout duration, TSS also takes into account what the intensity of your ride was so it's a better predictor of performance gains than is workout duration.

This plan is simple to follow and is written in every day triathlon language as you can see by opening "Sample Workouts" above. Commonly used terms are also explained in a note on day 1 along with other "getting started" details. Suggestions are made throughout to guide you in making training and race planning decisions.

Having read Joe's books; The Triathlete's Training Bible, Going Long, and The Power Meter Handbook; will help you to fully understand the training program outlined in this plan. This is highly recommended.

If when making the purchase of this plan you include your email address when prompted you will receive further follow-up information directly from Joe Friel. Your feedback on this plan is also requested.

Sample Day 1
Strength Maintenance.

Strength Maintenance: Warm-up 5-10 minutes. Then do 2 sets of Strength Maintenance (SM) weight lifting. First set is light (12 reps with 15 repetition-max "RM" load). Second set is heavy (3-6 reps with 6RM load). Cool down 5-10 minutes spinning on a stationary bike in easy gear or resistance at high rpm. This should be a very brief workout. For details turn to Chapter 13 in The Triathlete's Training Bible. Or go here:

Sample Day 2
ME1. Ladder down 2350.

(You may substitute a masters swim workout.) WU: 6 x 50 done as 25 drill of choice, 25 building speed.
500 at T-pace (50sec rest).
5 x 25 fast (20sec rest between).
400 at T-pace (40sec).
4 x 25 fast (20sec).
300 at T-pace (30sec).
3 x 25 fast (20sec).
200 at T-pace (20sec).
2 x 25 fast (20sec).
100 at T-pace.
CD: 200 easy drills and swims of your choice.

Sample Day 2
ME1. Tempo Intervals 1h (4x6min) HR.

Tempo Intervals.
BT: Tempo intervals. Warm up about 10 minutes in HR zone 1 and 2. Then run 3-4 x 6 minute intervals on a fairly flat course. Do 4 if feeling good--3 if not. Build to zone 3 heart rate on each. Note your pace. Take a 90-second recovery jog/walk after each. Relaxed form! Listen to breathing. Run easily and walk to cool down for a few minutes to complete the planned workout duration. The first interval should be the slowest. (This is best outdoors but may be done on a treadmill).

Sample Day 3
AE1. Easy Run 45min HR.

Run in heart rate or pace zone 1 on a mostly flat, soft surface such as on a trail or in a park. VERY easy. Best done alone. If feeling very tired shorten this run or don't do it.

Sample Day 3
AE1. Continuous Swim 1600.

You may substitute a similar masters swim session for this workout.

A. 5-minute swim with your choice of drills and swims. Focus on how well you do the drills, not on how fast.
B. 3 x (4 x 50 done as 25 slow and easy, 25 moderately fast emphasizing form). (10sec rest between 50s)
A. 2 x 300 swim (1min rest between) at moderate/aerobic effort.
(1min rest).
B. Swim 400 moderate effort.
Cool down: 
5 minutes of easy swimming.
Total: 1600+

Sample Day 3
AE1. Easy Ride 1h power..

Ride in power zones 1-2, but mostly 1 zone. Flat course or indoor trainer. Low effort--light on pedals. Comfortably high rpm.

Sample Day 4
ME1. Steady Tempo 1h power (brick).

BT: Steady Tempo Brick. Warm-up 20-30 minutes. Then ride 25-30 minutes steady in power zone 3. Steady effort. Flat to gently rolling course on your time trial set-up in aero position. Try to time this so that the tempo portion ends immediately before starting the run. Transition to the accompanying run workout.

Joe Friel
Joe Friel Coaching

An endurance coach since 1980 Joe Friel has worked with triathletes, cyclists, and runners around the globe. He trains coaches and assists various national federations and national Olympic team staff. He also consults with professional athletes and sports-related businesses. Coach Friel occasionally offers personal camps and seminars for clubs and teams. He has authored 16 books on training including the best-selling Training Bible series. He is currently not accepting coaching clients.